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The Canberra Times' 10 most clicked stories for 2015

Stories of hope, heartbreak and - on the odd occasion - hilarity were the Canberra Times' most clicked on for the year.

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10. Junior bureaucrat leaks top-secret intelligence report on 4chan

A junior Defence staffer allegedly took home an intelligence report and posted it onlin

In an embarrassing security breach, it was revealed Department of Defence graduate managed to download a secret Defence Intelligence Organisation assessment, burn it to a disc, take it home and post it to anonymous image-sharing forum 4chan while praising Julian Assange as his hero

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Murder victim's family respond to sentencing of her killer, Magreb Al-Harazi

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Happy father Ronnie Bautista speaks of joy of Kathleen's rescue

Police and dad tell of their celebrations at finding the young woman.

A former Defence Signals Directorate employee stumbled onto the post  from 2012 while browsing the website in August this year.

A post allegedly made by Michael Scerba on 4chan read: "I release what I feel should be in the media: bombings, civilian deaths, actions of the 'terrorists' that just aren't reported in the media."

Scerba, 24, was jailed in November to one year jail for disclosing secret information.

9. The horror crash that broke our hearts

ACT Policing at the scene fatality on the corner of Southern Cross Drive and Chewings Street


A horror crash in Canberra's north which claimed the life of a seven-year-old girl made all of us stop and hold our loved ones a little tighter. 

Acacia Ward was remembered as a brilliant musician who dreamed to become prime minister of Australia.

The talented Kaleen Primary School  pupil was adored by her parents - Linda and Chris - whose lives were filled with sound of musical performances and dance recitals in their living room.

Mrs Ward said Acacia was a confident and outgoing girl who was capable of making anyone smile within minutes of meeting her.

"She was a dancer, a musician, a performer, and when you were with her you could not help but smile yourself," she said.

8. Murder investigation in Gordon

The house in Gordon where mother of three Sabah Al-Mdwali was found with critical head injuries and stab wounds in March.

Domestic violence was already in the headlines when Sabah Al-Mdwali was allegedly murdered by her husband in their Gordon house in March.

Neighbours say they heard shouts and screams coming from the Knoke Avenue house where the 28-year-old mother-of-three was found dead with stab wounds.

Her death prompted ACT police to launch their third homicide investigation in just three weeks.

Maged Mohommed Ahmed Al-Harazi pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife in the ACT Supreme Court in September. 

7. Barbed wire 'booby trap' for cyclists sprung

Bushwalker Michael Archinal discovered this booby trap while trekking the Centenary Trail.

At first glance you might think this wire slung across a Canberra nature trail is a spindly branch. Look closer and you'll see the barbs.

Bushwalker Michael Archinal discovered this "booby trap" while trekking the Centenary Trail near Tuggeranong with his wife in September. 

"There's no doubt this was meant to severely injure somebody on a pushbike," he said.

"The trail goes through the Bullen Range Nature Reserve and I think people potentially want to keep walkers and cyclists out of the area."

6. How did Kathleen Bautista survive in the bush for seven days?

Despite leg and abdominal injuries from the crash, 19-year-old Kathleen Bautista climbed at least 100 metres uphill after escaping her upturned car in the Cotter reserve area, west of Canberra.

It was the question we were all asking: how could a 19-year-old girl who crashed down an embankment and landed upside-down in a creek survive six nights alone in the bush?

Injured and exposed, a survival expert believed it came down to Kathleen Bautista's determination to live.

"[Ms Bautista] may have had some reason to anchor herself back to the world she's living in. That to me, that's what makes people stand out. She's got that grit, that drive to keep going," former SAS soldier Rich Hungerford said.

5. Parkes Way tunnel blocked after excavator hits bridge

The truck and excavator are freed from the Acton Tunnel after being stuck for two days.

When an excavator on the back of a low loader ripped 60 metres of asbestos tiles off the ceiling off the Acton Tunnel on Parkes Way it caused more than 50 hours of traffic chaos across the city.

It also sparked a war of words between the trucking company and ACT roads minister Mick Gentleman over whether the truck was being hauled illegally

4. Art lovers visit James Turrell in the nude as first naked tours hit the National Gallery

The first naked art tours of James Turrell: A Retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia.

Art lovers saw both the James Turrell exhibit and their fellow art-goers in a new light at the National Gallery of Australia in April as the first two naked tours went through.

Benjamin Law who was one of the participants in the first group, said he was nervous going in and didn't know what to expect.

"As soon as the clothes came off everyone got very social and I think it has to do with the fact that we were forced to make eye contact – because you don't want to look anywhere else. Because everyone was in this strange, funny, completely surreal experience people bonded really quickly," he said.

3. Tara Costigan's murder accused Marcus Rappel charged with breaching domestic violence protection order

A foundation is being launched in memory of Tara Costigan.

The revelation the mother of a week-old baby sought court protection from her ex-partner just one day before he allegedly killed her and attacked two other people in Calwell rocked the Canberra community in March.

An axe-wielding Marcus Rappel is alleged to have forced his way into the Duggan Street villa on Saturday afternoon, killing Tara Costigan, inflicting grievous bodily harm on a second woman, and seriously assaulting a man in the same attack.

2. Missing Canberra teenager Kathleen Bautista found alive

Missing Canberra teen Kathleen Bautista found alive after crashing her car and falling 15 metres down a steep embankment in the Cotter. This is the embankment the car crashed down.

After one week missing in the bush, it was hailed as a miracle when a Canberra teenager was been found alive after crashing her car and falling 15 metres down this steep embankment in September.

Despite leg and abdominal injuries from the crash, 19-year-old Kathleen Bautista climbed at least 100 metres uphill after escaping her upturned car in the Cotter reserve area, west of Canberra.

Her relieved father, Ronnie Bautista, said the family had never lost hope.

"To be honest the only thing we could do really is to pray, pray really hard she will be found. We never lost hope and we really kept that hope alive in us through the help of all the support of everyone," he said.

1. RSPCA ACT finds very woolly sheep near Canberra

The large sheep on Mulligans Flat.

It was the wild and woolly tale which has captured the world's attention.

The story of Chris the sheep, the rogue Merino with the mammoth fleece, was also the Canberra Times' most popular of the year.

Chris was recovered by the RSPCA in early September after a member of the public spotted him roaming free in Mulligans Flat.

Burdened by more than 40 kilograms of fleece, Chris was given a lifesaving haircut by national shearing champion Ian Elkins.

One world record, a stuffed toy and an international feud later, the celebrity sheep is now living the quiet life at an undisclosed location near Canberra.